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Unions without rents: the curious economics of faculty unions

  • Education


We show that Canadian faculty unions have had no effect on university revenues, only a small positive effect on earnings, a negative effect on research output, and lead to earnings redistributions across disciplines and ranks. We argue that faculty unions have a negligible positive (and often negative) effect on average faculty wages, because a union that promotes the median faculty member's welfare negotiates wage redistributions and more onerous teaching conditions, despite the negative impact these changes have on research output. Average wages may rise, but only because non-unionized universities trade off wages against the non-pecuniary benefits from research and teaching.

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